Jamestown, N.Y. – Your 4- to 6-year old child(ren) can spend their mornings at Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC),  playing outdoors, engaging with the natural world, and learning about the world at Audubon’s newest venture, Nature Play Care.

Parents can enroll their 4- to 6-year-old children for three-week sessions that run Tuesday – Friday. Following the completion of September’s opportunity, the next Nature Play Care session is 8-11:30 a.m., October 6 – 23.

Audubon was spurred to action by its wildly successful summer mini camps and COVID-19 restrictions. Nature Play Care was initiated as a nature-based supplement to indoor day care or virtual schooling and to promote the playing and exploring that provide the foundations for successful learning. 

In all but the most inclement weather the children will play outdoors, explore the trails, and engage with nature. Throughout each session, experienced nature educators will provide a host of supplies and activities that are the building blocks for engineering, science, art, physics, and math skills. 

In the open space of the outdoors, children will participate in a mix of self-chosen and guided activities. Self-chosen activities, whether group or solitary, develop a number of early childhood skills such as fine motor skills, full-body movement, balance, core muscle development, risk assessment, and socialization. Guided mini-lessons help students get ready for classroom settings, and the three-week session allows students to learn routines and develop school-readiness skills.

The normal health benefits of playing outdoors are undisputed by a number of researchers and that becomes even more important as everyone struggles to adapt to the restrictions and consequences of COVID-19. 

Audubon requests that children have face coverings with them, but they will not be required outdoors or when students are spaced out. 

Children must be completely potty trained and able to take care of their own toilet needs. ACNC provides no food, so parents are asked to send a snack and water bottles with their children. 

Fee for the three weeks is $336. Nature Center members receive a 10 percent discount.

Space is limited and paid reservations are required by Thursday, October 1. To register, call the Nature Center during business hours (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays) at (716) 569-2345 or go to AudubonCNC.org/Programs and click on “Current Schedule.” 

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. 

The first floor of the Nature Center building, including the Blue Heron Gift Shop, is open to the public Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Because not all of the building is accessible, admission is by donation only.

You are welcome to visit the 600-acre nature preserve from dawn to dusk daily. Enjoy the native tree arboretum, gardens, picnic area, and six miles of trails, and view Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, while practicing safe social distancing measures. 

To learn more about Audubon, call (716) 569-2345, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook.

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways.